Wednesday, February 9, 2011

'Falling' by Elizabeth Jane Howard

Publisher: Pan Books

ISBN: 0-330-36889-3

Length: 422 Pages

What the Blurb says:

'Henry Kent is a sensitive man in late middle age, a reader and a thinker, without means perhaps but not without charm.

Daisy has recovered from her unhappy past by learning to be self-sufficient, and viewing trust as a weakness. But there is still a part of her that yearns to be cared for once more.

It is this part that Henry sees, and with dedicated and calculated patience he works at her defences. So it is that despite all attempts to resist his attentions. Daisy finds herself falling under Henry's spell..'

Opening Line: 'She has left me.'

What's right with this novel?

One of the things I liked about this novel, is the writing itself. The story is told from three different perspectives, Henry's, Daisy's and then using flashbacks, to tell Henry's back story. To do this, Howard writing interchanges between the first and third person.

Usually when writers combine different perspectives in their writing, it becomes a bit of a mess. However with 'Falling', this really works. In fact, this makes the book an interesting and dynamic read.

I also like the subtle writing in this novel. Throughout the novel, I couldn't work out the central character, Henry. Through Howard's storytelling I found that my opinions of Henry changed continuously. From not trusting him, to thinking he was a nice, but slightly tragic character, then realising the true character of Henry, towards the end. I liked this technique, because it puts the reader in the position of how Daisy feels throughout the novel. I could also relate to her, because like Daisy, I have also encounter men like Henry, who manipulate and pull on the heart strings of women to get what they want (although in my case, I didn't fall for their tricks as much as she did).

All of the characters within this novel were believable and well rounded. However, I felt that it was the suspense and tension in the novel, that kept me gripped.

What's wrong with this novel?

One thing that I can pick fault with this novel, is that after all of the suspense that was created throughout this novel, the ending was a slight let down for me. It did come to a reasonably satisfactory ending, however I was anticipating something more dramatic. After reading this, I felt a bit flat.

Is this worth a read?

Yes 'Falling' is worth reading. However, I feel due to its content. this may appeal more to a female reader. However this is not strictly a 'Chick Lit' book. 'Falling' is dark novel, packed full of tension and suspense. I think that it's a gripping read.


  1. Excellent review. You've inspired me to see if the local library has "Falling" on the shelf. I love first lines and the four-word opening packs a powerful punch. My first question was, why did she leave? The second, I wonder what HE did. How typically female.

  2. Thank you. After you have read it, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this.